DSL NewsWire: Backstage Drama at ABT as Head Carpenter Claims Wrongful Firing

Frank La Mantia worked backstage for more than two decades at American Ballet Theatre, earning one promotion after another despite his famously hot temper. In the process, he became the head carpenter and the company became his home away from home, the place where he found some of his closest friends and his sense of identity.

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DSL NewsWire: NYCB’s Art Series Fills Seats with Younger (Hipper) Audience Members

There seemed to be an explosion of young men in knit caps and young women in leather pants watching as New York City Ballet recently performed a trio of Balanchine classics. In fact, according to the New York Times, the average age in the David H. Koch Theater seemed to have dropped by years, if not decades.

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DSL NewsWire: South Carolina Artists Follows Collaborative Example of Ballets Russes

What do you get when you combine a driven, neoclassical choreographer with a business-savvy impresaria and an Irish feminist composer? You get the newly formed Ballet Evolution, a collective of artists led by choreographer Jonathan Tabbert, Chamber Music Charleston director Sandra Nikolajevs, and composer and performer Laura Ball.

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DSL NewsWire: Carla Körbes This Year’s Artist-in-Residence at Vail Festival

Carla Körbes, the Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer who announced last year that she would retire at the end of this season, will be the artist-in-residence at this year’s Vail International Dance Festival, according to the New York Times’ ArtsBeat blog.

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DSL NewsWire: Boston Ballet’s Versatile Leading Man, Yury Yanowsky, To Retire

After 22 years with the company, Boston Ballet principal guest artist Yury Yanowsky is retiring from dancing to focus on choreographing. And he’s going out in style: Yanowsky and his wife, Boston Ballet principal dancer Kathleen Breen Combes, are scheduled to dance the lead roles of Armand and Marguerite on opening night of Val Caniparoli’s The Lady of the Camellias on February 26.

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DSL NewsWire: Australian YAGP Winner Takes Top Prize at Prix de Lausanne as Well

When 15-year-old Australian ballet dancer Harrison Lee took top prize this month at the Prix de Lausanne, he showed his trademark control when called forward from a line of finalists—some three and four years his senior.

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DSL NewsWire: Longtime Director of St. Croix Ballet, Karla Sweeney, Loses Battle With Cancer

Karla Sweeney, 66, the founder and longtime director of St. Croix Ballet in Stillwater, Minnesota, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 and had been in hospice for more than a year, died last Thursday.

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DSL NewsWire: Center for Ballet and the Arts Welcomes New Thinkers

Puppeteer Basil Twist, singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega, baroque dance specialist Béatrice Massin, and New York University philosopher Tamsin Shaw are among the new group of fellows who will be in residence at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, the first international institute devoted to the creation and study of ballet.

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DSL NewsWire: Adult Ballet Class: It’s A Joy To Dance At Any Age

“Those of us in the Saturday morning adult ballet class at Casco Bay Movers studio in Portland recently learned a new word: to ‘balter,’ as defined by the urban dictionary, is ‘to dance artlessly, without particular grace or skill but usually with enjoyment,’ ” writes Stephanie Eglinton in an editorial column about her adult ballet class printed in the Portland [ME] Press Herald.

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DSL NewsWire: Writer Dad Praises Special Bond Between Ballerinas and Dads

Being a ballet dad is about showing up, being there, and putting your whole heart into it, writes Huffington Post contributor Richard Greenberg, along with “teaching your child how to cope with hurt feelings, how to redirect frustration, and how to avoid being diminished by the behavior of others.”

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DSL NewsWire: American/Canadian Ballet Companies Benefit from Exchange Program

Alberta Ballet is participating in an exchange with the Houston Ballet in the hopes of exposing audiences in both cities to vibrant new talent. The Canadian company danced in Houston, Texas, at the end of January, reported CBC News.

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DSL NewsWire: Awareness and Understanding Lead to Safe Turnout, Story Says

The activity of turning out, or external hip rotation, is one that is highly desired by dancers of every genre at one time or another, but especially by dancers of classical ballet. Although dancers are taught to turn their feet out, it is often unclear to what degree and how to properly achieve the desired turnout.

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DSL NewsWire: Boston Ballet’s Petite Dancer Stands Tall Against Size Limitations

Japanese-born ballerina Misa Kuranaga has been a Boston Ballet principal since 2009 in spite of a physical build that would normally be considered unsuited to the art. The BDC Wire reported that in a recent interview with the Huffington Post, the ballerina opened up about her struggle making her presence known in the world of ballet and how she overcame what others perceived as limitations.

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DSL NewsWire: NYCB Choreographer Justin Peck’s Star is on the Rise

“I’m not really conscious of how to provoke interest,” offers Justin Peck, which is a little strange, given just how much interest the choreographer and New York City Ballet dancer is getting these days. On February 6, Magnolia Pictures will release Ballet 422, Jody Lee Lipes’ feature-film documentary of the making of Peck’s Paz de la Jolla.

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February 2015 | Ballet Scene | Offstage Insights

BalletSceneT

In ballet, many are called but few are chosen, and tradition has long held that no one is obliged to explain why one dancer makes the cut and another does not. That wasn’t the case for contestants at last June’s USA International Ballet Competition (IBC) in Jackson, Mississippi. Dancers who did not advance through the rounds—or receive the award or medal they hoped for—could uncover the secrets of that elusive “why not me” by participating in the IBC’s Competitor Evaluation Program.

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February 2015 | 2 Tips for Ballet Teachers | Glissades in Petit Allegro

Photo by Becky Montalvo

Glissades are common connecting steps for jumps and therefore important for students to master. There are two major types: 1) glissades in petit allegro, which close in fifth position, and 2) glissades in medium or grand allegro, which failli through fifth to end in or continue through fourth position.

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February 2015 | Mail

Kate Geissinger, Meredith Monk, and Ellen Fisher; photo by Stephanie Berger

I gave a copy of the Pittsburgh Ballet piece [“Ballet Scene: A Sensory-Sensitive Show,” July 2014] to a friend who has a child with autism. He is a classical pianist and founded a local support organization for parents and children with autism. He approached a company about opening their Nutcracker dress rehearsal, but they couldn’t accommodate him. They suggested another company, who agreed to open their December 12 rehearsal to these local families. You planted the seed and look what grew.

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February 2015 | Teacher in the Spotlight | Chauniece Conner Thompson

Chauniece Thompson makes sure students such as Morgan Rucker are prepared for every dance opportunity. Photo by Antoine Lever

NOMINATED BY: Joy Sheffield, friend: “Chauniece opened Ballet on Wheels in 2002 to help build a better Memphis community through dance. Chauniece ensures her students are well-prepared for every dance opportunity. She gives her dance staff full discretion in their classrooms and encourages them to come up with innovative ideas to engage students in the classroom and through community-based dance programs. She’s making a positive impact on her students, staff, and community.”

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DSL NewsWire: Osipova, Acosta, Wheeldon, Winners at UK’s National Dance Awards

Winners of this year’s National Dance Awards, which are decided by 50 dance critics from across the UK and celebrate excellence in professional dance, have been announced, according to a Royal Opera House press release.

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DSL NewsWire: SC Youth Ballet Invites Area Studios to First Annual Showcase

Summerville [SC] Civic Ballet, a nonprofit company for dancers ages 9 and older, has designed the First Annual Lowcountry Dance Invitational in an effort to unite local studio dancers and choreographers while promoting dance education and appreciation in the Lowcountry.

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DSL NewsWire: Choreographer Up For Challenge of Mississippi River Boat Ballet

Patrick Scully wants to stage a ballet this summer in the Twin Cities that takes place on the Mississippi River and stars dozens of vessels as the “dancers.” The idea, called the Mississippi River Boat Ballet, might seem a bit far-fetched, except that Scully has pulled off a boat ballet before.

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DSL NewsWire: The Royal Ballet Crosses the Pond; Plans Stops in DC, NYC, Chicago

Ever since it was reported that The Royal Ballet would visit Washington and Chicago in 2015, rumors have been swirling about a New York stop. The New York Times’ ArtsBeat blog has announced that the rumors are true.

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DSL NewsWire: Website Offers Free Music for Ballet Variations, Pas De Deux

Two dancers from Italy have created a website that provides free recordings of musical variations and pas de deux from popular ballet often danced by students in competition or auditions, such as Cinderella, Diana and Actaeon, Giselle, and Paquita.

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DSL NewsWire: PNB’s Don Quixote Portrayed by The Turning Point Screen Star Tom Skerritt

Movie and TV star Tom Skerritt, perhaps best known to balletomanes for his portrayal as a former dancer and father to Leslie Browne and husband to Shirley MacLaine in 1977’s The Turning Point, will be appearing in the title role of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Don Quixote.

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DSL NewsWire: Former SF Ballet Dancer Takes Center Stage with Lead Role in Syfy’s 12 Monkeys

Amanda Schull started dancing before she could recite the alphabet, and by the time she was in her second year of college, she was granted a full scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School. Soon she became a performer, occasionally dancing featured roles.

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January 2015 | Ballet Scene | French Lessons

Genevieve Le Gall Fortner (far right) and Erika Farrar-Bowen (second from left) took students sightseeing to flesh out a trip focused on ballet. Photo by Sarah Frances Hardy

Ballet is a beautiful art form, but the day-to-day work involved isn’t always glamorous. It can be hard for students to think of themselves as participants in a grand artistic tradition when they’re repeating exercises for the 500th time. That’s what Genevieve Le Gall Fortner, the founder and director of Oxford Ballet School in Oxford, Mississippi, noticed over a period of several years: her ballet students lacked motivation.

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January 2015 | 2 Tips for Ballet Teachers |Diagonals and Pirouettes

Photo by Becky Montalvo

We teach beginning dancers to face the corners of the room squarely when in effacé and croisé. As dancers become more advanced, they will need to adjust to facing along a flatter diagonal.

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Great Choreographic Talent Lost in Upheaval of Soviet Revolution

In Soviet Russia in 1930, culture and art were alive, but Stalin was already turning revolution into a brutal state orthodoxy. With the launch of his 1928 five-year plan, and its attendant political persecutions, artists found themselves in serious danger if they were considered to have fallen foul of the official cultural line, reported the Guardian.

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Young Artists Challenge Themselves to Put on Production After Only 24 Hours

On Sunday night in Wausau, Wisconsin, about two dozen sleep-deprived young musicians, dancers, actors, and producers between the ages of 9 and 25 performed a play and a rock ballet that came together in a mere 24 hours.

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